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It's a sad impact to the quality of his work, but an excellent study in the difference between masterpiece writing and amateur writing though there are a few passages in TA where Peake still kills it. Also, I flipped between the very different editions of this, an early version of poor editorial judgement, and the more recent restitution by a close friend of Peake's. It seems the Juno thread and all references to science Cheeta, the scientist's daughter were edited out of the earlier version, along with some rather silly, unnecessary, even confusing dialogue. Titus Groan the first book is always the one that has stuck in my mind.

I recall that on seeing the BBC DVD based on books I and II , I was surprised by some of what it contained, and only on my recent re-read of Gormenghast the second book did its contents slowly come back to me. I was unable to recall any of Titus Alone , and I now think it was for the simple reason that I never actually got around to it though I thought I had read the entire trilogy. It's also possible that I just don't Titus Groan the first book is always the one that has stuck in my mind.

It's also possible that I just don't remember it. Peake, having dramatically taken Titus from the lands he knows, seems just as adrift as his hero. The book starts well, with mystery and promise. And it ends reasonably well. But I found most of the rest to be a muddled pastiche of discordant scenes and settings. Without Gormenghast's walls to hold them together, they tumble apart in their separate directions, and the narrative is a jumbled climb around a pile of disparate ruins.

The tone is changed as well, and while that suits the plot, the voice is suddenly harsh, and sometimes coarse. Gormenghast's characters were intriguing and compelling precisely because of the weird society and order that bound them together. In Titus Alone , strange characters are simply strange.

There is little logic, less structure. Physical distances are not so much plastic as in Gormenghast as inconsistent.

There's more obvious social commentary and satire, but it doesn't always feel intentional, as if Peake mixed in layers of meaning unintentionally, making for something of a muddle. While it appears to have purpose, it's not clear to me that Peake necessarily meant it as commentary, rather than color.

Despite ragged appearance, incredible origin, ordinary features, and no great charisma or intellect, he acquires several protectors who devote themselves to his wellbeing. Some, view spoiler [like Anchor and Old Crime, hide spoiler ] seem designed for deeper meaning, explication, or attachment, but it never comes. All in all, to use one of Peake's own images, I found the core of the book to be an intricate mass of interesting threads and knots and starts but relatively little knitting.

Only at the very end does the story pick up, with the penultimate scenes at the Black House strong and evocative. The very final scene doesn't really fit the remainder very well, and is left unexplained. Given that Peake intended two more books, it's hard to see why he created this scene with so much effort, and then did so little with it. Even for a writer who so often understates key scenes, this seems wasteful Most of Titus Alone is far from understated, and some of Peake's images and scenes are striking.

Some are moving, some funny. Overall, though, there simply too little holding the story together. I've always thought of Gormenghast as an unspecified and unreachable location in Britain, or at least Europe. I understand that the fourth book, Titus Awakes , written by his widow, upholds the idea that Gormenghast is at least on Earth.

But as I read this third book the last written by Peake himself , I was struck by the notion that perhaps the three books are best explained as a forgotten colony world - explaining the vast empty reaches, the uncertain geography, the rigid tradition and isolation, and the uneven technology. Perhaps it's because I've been reading so much Jack Vance , but it seems to me that Gormenghast could easily be an in-depth exploration of some of the settings on his worlds. Or, given the timing, that he created a broader setting for Peake's detailed locale.

At any rate, worth reading for those who really enjoyed books I and II, but of a wholly different order than those are - wilder and less coherent. Now to decide whether to read book IV, but on whole, given the reviews by Gormenghast fans, I think I'll give it a try. Dec 09, Michael rated it liked it Shelves: s , fiction-that-speculates. Although the three Gormenghast novels are now thought of as a trilogy, I wonder how appropriate this designation is. Peake's intention with the series was to tell the entire life story of the character Titus Groan, and he was working on the fourth book in this series at the time of his death.

He planned to write five volumes in the series, the fourth and fifth being "Titus Awakens" and "Gormenghast Revisited. Aside from that, the first two books in the series, Titus Groan and Gormenghast, tell a more-or-less complete story about the bizarre happenings at Gormenghast castle during Titus's youth. These two books, when taken together, form a complete story with a satisfying resolution.

I have trouble seeing Titus Alone as part of this 'trilogy' because the storyline has very little connection to the first two volumes. In this book, Titus has set out from Gormenghast castle on his own, attempting to escape the monotonous rituals of his home. The dark, medieval setting of Gormenghast is quickly left behind, and a world full of skyscrapers, cars, airplanes and factories surrounds him.

Titus quickly regrets his decision to leave home, and wishes he could figure out how to get home. Along his way, Titus's libido starts going nuts. He has a relationship with Juno, a fortysomething woman who saves him from being arrested, and ends up leaving her because he doesn't want to settle down.

Later, the wealthy daughter of a factory owner becomes fascinated by him and tries to woo him. Titus is only interested in her sexually, and this makes her super-pissed, and she formulates a remarkable and haunting way of getting revenge. My favorite aspect of this book is that we never know if Titus is simply mad, and Gormenghast--and the first two volumes in the series--have only happened in his mind. At no point in this book is Gormenghast's existence proven by anything he encounters in his travels, and no one has heard of it. This book is fascinating in many ways, but it doesn't live up to the high bar set by Titus Groan and Gormenghast.

Those books were lush and complex and inspire a real sense of awe at the world's strangeness, where Titus Alone is a bit sketchy and sometimes even vague. And implausible. Titus is kind of a whiny bitch, so why does everybody and their mother want to follow him on his travels? And why do they all show up at the most convenient times?

It feels more like the characters are just doing what the author needs them to. This book isn't near perfect like the first two, but it's still an entertaining read, with some characters that are as compelling in their surreality as the other books' cast. The names aren't as awesome: Rotcodd and Steerpike and Prunesqallor were names from Gormenghast castle.

The characters he's meeting in this book have names like Cheetah and The Black Rose. Not as entertaining. And I digress. If you haven't followed my reviews on this series, I highly recommend both Titus Groan and Gormenghast as must-read fantasy. View all 5 comments.

Mar 20, Stevie Kincade rated it really liked it Shelves: audiobooks , fantasy. Apr 18, midnightfaerie rated it really liked it Shelves: classics. Words can be tiresome as a swarm of insects. They can prick and buzz! Words can be no more than a series of farts; or on the other hand they can be adamantine, obdurate, inviolable, stone upon stone.

Rather like your 'so-called Gormenghast' you notice that I use the same phrase again. The phrase that makes you cross? For although you have learned, it "I am tired of your words," said Titus. For although you have learned, it seems, the art of making enemies and this is indeed good for the soul , yet you are blind, deaf, and dumb when it comes to another language. Stark: dry: unequivocal: and cryptic: a thing of crusts and water.

This final book, Titus Alone, although still compelling in its script, is a world away from the beautiful and grotesqueness of his first two books. Peake was beginning to struggle with Parkinson's disease and some fans complain that his writing became more disjointed with this third tome. I'm not sure if it was a diminishing mind unable to focus, or higher form of brilliance that formed this book. While more abstract in his writing, he follows some themes that we continue to see throughout this short book, such as can we really escape who we are?

Titus runs away, trying to shed himself the burden of duty and obligation, along with the abhorrent ceremony of ritual he has come to hate. But he soon discovers he might be more a part of Gormenghast that he realized, and even though he ends up in a completely different world, he can't seem to rid himself of his inheritance.

Along with the underlying themes pertaining to the human condition, we see longevity and a fan following that is reminiscent of JD Salinger in its intensity. He also displays a unique way of writing and no one that reads Peake can object to his fanciful words that draw you in to his story. All of these things definitely make this story a classic.

I also think the reason I have such an affinity for Peake, are his commonalities with Dickens. You can see this in many ways, but most often in his characters and the naming of them. My love for Charles Dickens bleeds over into Peake's writing with a severity I don't often find in other authors. The two have similarities, but in the end, they are their own original entity. I really liked this book. I honestly can't decide if I liked it better than the first two or not. Usually I don't like such nonconcrete writing, however, there were some recondite sentiments in the story line that I found beautiful.

The first two books were definitely easier to read, and this book almost seemed to change the genre of how I first envisioned Gormenghast and its entirety. But I don't think it should be easily dismissed because of that. And I don't believe anyone can say definitively if Peake didn't intend this outcome right from the beginning.

Titus is lost, and throughout the story, continues to be lost until he realizes what he needs to be found. He tries to find his identity in a separate existence than his home. Gormenghast represents everything he loathes, and because of that, he wants to sever ties with it. So the development of his character and the progression of his life away from Gormeghast, of which is this novel, is the most important in finding out who he is. The whole architecture of this trilogy depends on it. This theme is wrapped up, if not necessarily tidily with a bow, but completely at the end.

I think the only thing that I didn't care for was the ending, only because I began to see myself in Titus and it's not what I would have done. Shame on him for going against my nature. For Titus though, with no proof of Gormenghast, he has no proof of his identity. So to prove that he has matured and found it, he must make the choice he did - leaving Gormenghast after having just found it again - or the purpose that has been built to, is rendered invalid. Overall, it's simply a brilliant piece of work. The writing is superb and the originality is nothing to be compared to. I have never read such descriptive and detailed writing as this.

The imagery alone is worth the effort of reading these books: "She goes through hell," muttered Titus. Grief can be boring. View 1 comment. Apr 23, Wyatt Spear rated it did not like it. This book achieves the rare feat of making the other books in the series feel worse on reflection. Titus, it turns out, is an utterly unlikable pill of a human being who, despite his lack of redeeming qualities and a general attitude of entitled unpleasantness, finds a number of people more than willing to risk life, limb and livelihood to befriend, love and help him for no discernible reason.

These encounters are monotonous in their unbelievable convenience for our despicable protagonist. Such This book achieves the rare feat of making the other books in the series feel worse on reflection. Such a whiny, inconsiderate twit is Lord Titus that I found myself sorry that Steerpike failed to lay him low in their final encounter. Many character quirks and and attitudes are rehashed from the first two novels in ways that are unsubtle to the point of distraction.

The book ends exactly where it begins, with Titus setting out from his home determined to never return, making the whole tortured journey of the reader doubly pointless and negating any possible catharsis. Read the first two books in the Gormenghast series. Pretend this one doesn't exist. The Gormenghast trilogy is in my all time favourites list. The writing is incredible. I read the three books straight through as one. The second, Gormenghast is the best. After this Gothic Fantasy, anything I read seemed flat and boring for a while. I am a bit perplexed if this third part of the Gormenghast series is necessity or mere redundancy, for Titus Groan and Gormenghast were more than marvellous.

Moreover, characters resemble pop-out paper puppets that emerge from the book, perform their lines, and vanish afterwards. Plot is quite plain and leads nowhere save to the beginning, albeit I do believe that Peake had quite immense ideas, but unfortunately could not manage to fulfil them. Along with Professor Tolkien, thus Mervyn Peake became my 1a.

May 06, Ben De Bono rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-in , fantasy. Even though it's very different from the first two books, I found Titus Alone a fitting addition to the Gomenghast saga. I liked the sense of archetypal surrealism Peake infused this one with.

It complemented the first two books well and turns the careful world building of those novels on their head. The biggest problem with this volume is that Peake didn't live to write the remaining books he had planned. Unlike the title, this novel in no way stands alone. It relies heavily on what's come befo Even though it's very different from the first two books, I found Titus Alone a fitting addition to the Gomenghast saga. It relies heavily on what's come before and sets up the next chapter in Titus' life. Had Peake completed the series, I suspect this would have been a transition novel, tying the early and later parts of the series together.

It's still a wonderful read but it's a shame the whole vision was never realized Apr 27, Thrasymachus rated it it was ok Shelves: owned , science-fiction-and-fantasy , 20th-century-literature-post-war , british-and-irish-literature.

Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake, Signed - AbeBooks

Feels like it needed more fleshing out. Entertainingly loopy though. As weird as ever. Creepy phrases and bizarre characters, always a winner. Jan 24, David Schultz rated it liked it. Peake really just let his mind wander in this one.

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All sorts of side stories, plot holes and weirdness that made little to no sense. So many questions with no answers. View all 4 comments. I met this with mixed feelings and finished it with not much of a resolution in that regard. Peake was struggling with a degenerative disease and this book was apparently compiled together from various manuscripts First, you have Titus Groan. Throughout the first book he is but an infant, and in the second still remains rather elusive and dull compared I met this with mixed feelings and finished it with not much of a resolution in that regard.

Throughout the first book he is but an infant, and in the second still remains rather elusive and dull compared to the likes of Steerpike and Fuchsia. Yet Titus remains an enigma. He could not force a feeling, or bring himself to love. His love was always elsewhere. His thoughts were fastidious. Only his body was indiscriminate. Also take notice of the titles: Titus Alone , and then Titus Awakes. Obviously this isn't the book where Titus is going to develop an actual personality, or awaken. In fact, the only thing connecting him to the character we know in other books is his knowledge of Gormenghast.

And what does Titus find outside of the crumbling walls of Gormenghast? Modern cities, cars, weird flying machines, underground people, a zoo, houses made of glass, poverty, money-eaters, mad scientists, love. I couldn't possibly review this without pointing out the absurdity of it. Here you have an ancient, crumbling castle governed by ritual in the first two books-- and then you're met with all this modernity.

And no Gormenghast. No, not one person is familiar with his home. Titus isn't even the only character that suffers from bad characterization-- but there are others. And this is kind of painful to see, because they do not all suffer from this. In particular I'm thinking of Cheeta and the scientists the latter feeling like something tacked on just for plots sake, something even more of an enigma than Titus. There's also the matter of writing style. Peake's writing style fits the dusty realms of Gormenghast well.

But, now we don't have a Gormenghast. This book really loses the allure and charm of the previous two. Gormenghast, with all it's microscopic details yet vastness, is actually remote and far-away given the obscurity aroused when Titus mentions the name to others. I'm rather unclear on if there were multiple versions of Titus Alone.

But in the one I read, things that are at first described as weird flying machines are later described as helicopters, to give one example. In an essay I skimmed it mentions this, and that editors or what have you wanted to do away with all modern coinage. I wonder if this is an artifact of that. But it is startling, especially when Titus falls out of one with a parachute.

The writing is still quite fine overall. Unfortunately, the story here feels unnecessary. But it failed to stand up to the value of Books 1 and 2 in the Gormenghast series. View 2 comments. Half way through Book Two of this I was amazed it isn't much more widely appreciated so brilliant was it. Then I read Book Three and found out why.

It comes apart at the seams. After creating the fabulously gothic world of Gormenghast and a cast of compellingly oddball characters Peake abandons the brilliant world he created and all but the least interesting character and takes us into a sterile futuristic world which, imaginatively, is nowhere near as convincing as the medieval world of Gormeng Half way through Book Two of this I was amazed it isn't much more widely appreciated so brilliant was it.

After creating the fabulously gothic world of Gormenghast and a cast of compellingly oddball characters Peake abandons the brilliant world he created and all but the least interesting character and takes us into a sterile futuristic world which, imaginatively, is nowhere near as convincing as the medieval world of Gormenghast. The new characters merely seem like inferior versions of the old characters as if environment has little or no influence on character and the humour becomes ever more self-indulgent and silly.

It felt like he disappeared too far into his imagination and lost touch with some essential objective rigour which is necessary for all novels. I found myself skimming lots of the absurd meandering dialogue and the ending was deeply unsatisfying. View all 7 comments. The last book in the Gormenghast series was sadly a big let down for me, although I loved the peculiarity of first two books in the series, but things got a lot weird and meaningless for me in this book.

Also out of the characters introduced to us in the first two, we have only Titus for company, but sadly he also become a completely unidentifiable character in this book. Some of the weak points of the book are 1. Story went no where. Characters not well cast out. Unsatisfactory ending. Let me ela The last book in the Gormenghast series was sadly a big let down for me, although I loved the peculiarity of first two books in the series, but things got a lot weird and meaningless for me in this book.

Let me elaborate on the above points 1. The story resumes where with Titus finds himself in a town, this town described by Peake is unique in a sense that it has a lot of interesting and weird characters and places in it. We come to know about it as Titus goes on exploring it, but sadly it is not as interesting as the Gormenghast castle.

The biggest issue this book suffers is that the story in the book goes no where, it just drags as Titus does in the book. The only character which I liked in the book was Muzzlehatch , but Peake fails to flesh out the intentions of the characters in this book, we just can't understand why is this character behaving in such a way. Also Peake introduces a bit too many characters and just kills them off or completely removes them and due to this fact you do not care about any character in this book. The book ends in a completely weird way which leaves you scratching your head to understand what just happened and what did I just read?.

You just can't make a sense of lot of things in this book. I give this book 2 stars, and this is due to fact that I liked the first two books in the series too much, to give it a 1 star. View all 3 comments. Titus Alone loses a bit of the magic that Titus Groan and Gormenghast offer, but the language alone makes it worth a read.

Peake created a fascinating world, and a trilogy that I especially recommend to other writers: these books show that you can do whatever you want with words. A revelation, really. I wrote this article about the Gormenghast novels. Mervyn Peake was the Buddy Holly of literature - there was absolutely no doubt that he would have written a great third volume of the Gormenghast saga, but he fell victim to early onset dementia, and all we have are the scraps of notes from this last unhappy period; just as we know full well that the void between and the rise of the Beatles in 63 would have been filled magnificently by Buddy Holly, whose musical imagination had already at age 22 impressed all with his huge potential.

But we Mervyn Peake was the Buddy Holly of literature - there was absolutely no doubt that he would have written a great third volume of the Gormenghast saga, but he fell victim to early onset dementia, and all we have are the scraps of notes from this last unhappy period; just as we know full well that the void between and the rise of the Beatles in 63 would have been filled magnificently by Buddy Holly, whose musical imagination had already at age 22 impressed all with his huge potential.

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But we were left with the acoustic home made demos recorded in his New York flat before the fatal midwest winter tour, and bittersweet listening they make. Titus Alone is in no way to be compared with the first two brilliant Gormenghast volumes. I suppose it had to be published, but it reading it just made me sad. View all 8 comments. At last Titus is at large and free to choose whatever he wishes but instead of happiness he feels like an uprooted tree.

To be a roofless rover and to move from pillar to post is now his destiny. He touched it with his hand. Who was he? There was no knowing. He shut his eyes again. In a few moments there was no noise at all, and then the scuffling sound of a bird in the ivy out At last Titus is at large and free to choose whatever he wishes but instead of happiness he feels like an uprooted tree.

In a few moments there was no noise at all, and then the scuffling sound of a bird in the ivy outside the tall window recalled the world that was outside himself — something apart from this frightful zoneless nullity. As he lifted himself up on one elbow, his memory returning in small waves, he could not know that a figure filled the doorway of his room — not so much in bulk as in the intensity of her presence — filled it as a tigress fills the opening of her cave.

And Titus Alone is the most psychedelic part of the trilogy. Well, it has only taken me fourteen years, but I have finished the trilogy at last; I read the first volume back in as a high school sophomore, and enjoyed it, but at the time I was being carried along by a seemingly endless wave of writers to discover and rediscover that I didn't fully appreciate it at the time.

However, better late than never, and while, as others have noted, Peake's illness left this feeling rather like a condensed version of a larger book and as much as I miss my favor Well, it has only taken me fourteen years, but I have finished the trilogy at last; I read the first volume back in as a high school sophomore, and enjoyed it, but at the time I was being carried along by a seemingly endless wave of writers to discover and rediscover that I didn't fully appreciate it at the time.

However, better late than never, and while, as others have noted, Peake's illness left this feeling rather like a condensed version of a larger book and as much as I miss my favorite character, Gormenghast itself , Peake's vision still burns bright even in truncated form. So much seems to flow from this novel; I get the feeling that many rivers - Ballard, Carter, Harrison, Bernanos' 'Other Side of the Mountain', great swathes of the New Wave and New Weird both, can all trace their point of origin back to the phantasmagoric lands depicted here and in 'Boy in Darkness'.

I have a rocky relationship with the Gormenghast book. I've often found the writing style too ornate - deliciously descriptive, true, but also sometimes so adorned that I can't tell what the hell is going on. I found the second book more readable than the first. I find the third more readable than the previous two. The problem is, while it was a more pleasant read, I'm not sure why it exists. Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement.

Y I have a rocky relationship with the Gormenghast book. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook A decent wrap up to the trilogy, but it was not as satisfying as the first two books having not taken place within the walls of Gormenghast with all the characters I have come to know and love.

But, the weirdness of the new characters and scenes, along with Peake's way with imaginative descriptions, were still all there to be savored. Mervyn Peake, with 's "Titus Alone", seemingly to me only lays the foundation for the action thriller, "Mad Max" which was released in but I must point out that the director George Miller and the producer Kennedy used an original screenplay based on the world's oil crisis of the s. More on that shortly. With "Titus Alone" Peake delivers a tighter, faster-paced novel.

I very much enjoyed "Titus Alone" and one could argue that since the author was fighting mental problems during the writing of this book, his achievement is all the more amazing. And although I can't possibly give away the sensational ending to "Titus Alone", I can say the ending is similar to the end of "Gormenghast" and, oh, here is a comment that hurts to consider: with the end of "Alone" and with what little I know of "Titus Awakes", Peake had opened for himself a singular world ripe for novel after novel after novel.

I'll say this again: I had never heard of Mervyn Peake until one of the stellar goodreads reviewers we are blessed with introduced me to him. If you love to read, and you pride yourself, like me, on seeking out and reading a bit of everything, then "Titus Alone" and "Gormenghast" are two literary masterpieces you MUST read. And if you're an action thriller fan that isn't one of my favorite genres , you can't miss "Titus Alone.

Peake has singlehandedly made one of my favorite reading years ever. Like a child's toy viewfinder, the short chapters glimpse into a different kind of reality, away from Gormenghast, where kings and dungeons exist alongside skyscrapers and sports stadiums. Gormenghast doesn't seem so weird anymore.

And is that a drone Peake is imagining in ? The vast difference in quality between Gormenghast and Titus Alone is due to Peake's battle with dementia toward the end of his life. It's a sad impact to the quality of his work, but an excellent study in the difference Like a child's toy viewfinder, the short chapters glimpse into a different kind of reality, away from Gormenghast, where kings and dungeons exist alongside skyscrapers and sports stadiums.

It's a sad impact to the quality of his work, but an excellent study in the difference between masterpiece writing and amateur writing though there are a few passages in TA where Peake still kills it. Also, I flipped between the very different editions of this, an early version of poor editorial judgement, and the more recent restitution by a close friend of Peake's. It seems the Juno thread and all references to science Cheeta, the scientist's daughter were edited out of the earlier version, along with some rather silly, unnecessary, even confusing dialogue.

Titus Groan the first book is always the one that has stuck in my mind. I recall that on seeing the BBC DVD based on books I and II , I was surprised by some of what it contained, and only on my recent re-read of Gormenghast the second book did its contents slowly come back to me. I was unable to recall any of Titus Alone , and I now think it was for the simple reason that I never actually got around to it though I thought I had read the entire trilogy.

It's also possible that I just don't Titus Groan the first book is always the one that has stuck in my mind. It's also possible that I just don't remember it. Peake, having dramatically taken Titus from the lands he knows, seems just as adrift as his hero. The book starts well, with mystery and promise. And it ends reasonably well. But I found most of the rest to be a muddled pastiche of discordant scenes and settings.

Without Gormenghast's walls to hold them together, they tumble apart in their separate directions, and the narrative is a jumbled climb around a pile of disparate ruins. The tone is changed as well, and while that suits the plot, the voice is suddenly harsh, and sometimes coarse. Gormenghast's characters were intriguing and compelling precisely because of the weird society and order that bound them together. In Titus Alone , strange characters are simply strange. There is little logic, less structure. Physical distances are not so much plastic as in Gormenghast as inconsistent.

There's more obvious social commentary and satire, but it doesn't always feel intentional, as if Peake mixed in layers of meaning unintentionally, making for something of a muddle. While it appears to have purpose, it's not clear to me that Peake necessarily meant it as commentary, rather than color. Despite ragged appearance, incredible origin, ordinary features, and no great charisma or intellect, he acquires several protectors who devote themselves to his wellbeing. Some, view spoiler [like Anchor and Old Crime, hide spoiler ] seem designed for deeper meaning, explication, or attachment, but it never comes.

All in all, to use one of Peake's own images, I found the core of the book to be an intricate mass of interesting threads and knots and starts but relatively little knitting. Only at the very end does the story pick up, with the penultimate scenes at the Black House strong and evocative. The very final scene doesn't really fit the remainder very well, and is left unexplained. Given that Peake intended two more books, it's hard to see why he created this scene with so much effort, and then did so little with it. Even for a writer who so often understates key scenes, this seems wasteful Most of Titus Alone is far from understated, and some of Peake's images and scenes are striking.

Some are moving, some funny. Overall, though, there simply too little holding the story together. I've always thought of Gormenghast as an unspecified and unreachable location in Britain, or at least Europe. I understand that the fourth book, Titus Awakes , written by his widow, upholds the idea that Gormenghast is at least on Earth. But as I read this third book the last written by Peake himself , I was struck by the notion that perhaps the three books are best explained as a forgotten colony world - explaining the vast empty reaches, the uncertain geography, the rigid tradition and isolation, and the uneven technology.

Perhaps it's because I've been reading so much Jack Vance , but it seems to me that Gormenghast could easily be an in-depth exploration of some of the settings on his worlds. Or, given the timing, that he created a broader setting for Peake's detailed locale. At any rate, worth reading for those who really enjoyed books I and II, but of a wholly different order than those are - wilder and less coherent. Now to decide whether to read book IV, but on whole, given the reviews by Gormenghast fans, I think I'll give it a try.

Although the three Gormenghast novels are now thought of as a trilogy, I wonder how appropriate this designation is. Peake's intention with the series was to tell the entire life story of the character Titus Groan, and he was working on the fourth book in this series at the time of his death. He planned to write five volumes in the series, the fourth and fifth being "Titus Awakens" and "Gormenghast Revisited.

Aside from that, the first two books in the series, Titus Groan and Gormenghast, tell a more-or-less complete story about the bizarre happenings at Gormenghast castle during Titus's youth. These two books, when taken together, form a complete story with a satisfying resolution. I have trouble seeing Titus Alone as part of this 'trilogy' because the storyline has very little connection to the first two volumes. In this book, Titus has set out from Gormenghast castle on his own, attempting to escape the monotonous rituals of his home. The dark, medieval setting of Gormenghast is quickly left behind, and a world full of skyscrapers, cars, airplanes and factories surrounds him.

Titus quickly regrets his decision to leave home, and wishes he could figure out how to get home. Along his way, Titus's libido starts going nuts. He has a relationship with Juno, a fortysomething woman who saves him from being arrested, and ends up leaving her because he doesn't want to settle down.

Later, the wealthy daughter of a factory owner becomes fascinated by him and tries to woo him. Titus is only interested in her sexually, and this makes her super-pissed, and she formulates a remarkable and haunting way of getting revenge. My favorite aspect of this book is that we never know if Titus is simply mad, and Gormenghast--and the first two volumes in the series--have only happened in his mind.

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy

At no point in this book is Gormenghast's existence proven by anything he encounters in his travels, and no one has heard of it. This book is fascinating in many ways, but it doesn't live up to the high bar set by Titus Groan and Gormenghast. Those books were lush and complex and inspire a real sense of awe at the world's strangeness, where Titus Alone is a bit sketchy and sometimes even vague. And implausible. Titus is kind of a whiny bitch, so why does everybody and their mother want to follow him on his travels?

And why do they all show up at the most convenient times? It feels more like the characters are just doing what the author needs them to. This book isn't near perfect like the first two, but it's still an entertaining read, with some characters that are as compelling in their surreality as the other books' cast. The names aren't as awesome: Rotcodd and Steerpike and Prunesqallor were names from Gormenghast castle. The characters he's meeting in this book have names like Cheetah and The Black Rose.

Not as entertaining. And I digress. If you haven't followed my reviews on this series, I highly recommend both Titus Groan and Gormenghast as must-read fantasy. View all 5 comments. Words can be tiresome as a swarm of insects. They can prick and buzz! Words can be no more than a series of farts; or on the other hand they can be adamantine, obdurate, inviolable, stone upon stone. Rather like your 'so-called Gormenghast' you notice that I use the same phrase again. The phrase that makes you cross?

For although you have learned, it "I am tired of your words," said Titus.

For although you have learned, it seems, the art of making enemies and this is indeed good for the soul , yet you are blind, deaf, and dumb when it comes to another language. Stark: dry: unequivocal: and cryptic: a thing of crusts and water. This final book, Titus Alone, although still compelling in its script, is a world away from the beautiful and grotesqueness of his first two books. Peake was beginning to struggle with Parkinson's disease and some fans complain that his writing became more disjointed with this third tome. I'm not sure if it was a diminishing mind unable to focus, or higher form of brilliance that formed this book.

While more abstract in his writing, he follows some themes that we continue to see throughout this short book, such as can we really escape who we are? Titus runs away, trying to shed himself the burden of duty and obligation, along with the abhorrent ceremony of ritual he has come to hate. But he soon discovers he might be more a part of Gormenghast that he realized, and even though he ends up in a completely different world, he can't seem to rid himself of his inheritance.

Along with the underlying themes pertaining to the human condition, we see longevity and a fan following that is reminiscent of JD Salinger in its intensity. He also displays a unique way of writing and no one that reads Peake can object to his fanciful words that draw you in to his story. All of these things definitely make this story a classic.

I also think the reason I have such an affinity for Peake, are his commonalities with Dickens. You can see this in many ways, but most often in his characters and the naming of them. My love for Charles Dickens bleeds over into Peake's writing with a severity I don't often find in other authors.

The two have similarities, but in the end, they are their own original entity. I really liked this book. I honestly can't decide if I liked it better than the first two or not. Usually I don't like such nonconcrete writing, however, there were some recondite sentiments in the story line that I found beautiful.

The first two books were definitely easier to read, and this book almost seemed to change the genre of how I first envisioned Gormenghast and its entirety. But I don't think it should be easily dismissed because of that. And I don't believe anyone can say definitively if Peake didn't intend this outcome right from the beginning. Titus is lost, and throughout the story, continues to be lost until he realizes what he needs to be found. He tries to find his identity in a separate existence than his home. Gormenghast represents everything he loathes, and because of that, he wants to sever ties with it.

So the development of his character and the progression of his life away from Gormeghast, of which is this novel, is the most important in finding out who he is. Boy in Darkness. Titus Alone. Titus Awakes. Over the years there have been a number of adaptations based upon one or more of the series of Gormenghast books.

The following lists of adaptations will include the source for each work, who produced the adaptation, when and where it was produced if applicable. Photos and videos are a great way to add visuals to your wiki. Find videos about your topic by exploring Wikia's Video Library.